Thursday, August 23, 2012

Repost: Falsetto Spirituality

First posted August 6, 2008.

In Soul Graffiti, Mark Scandrette writes, "A fascination with the supernatural can be a sign of spiritual fragmentation, a falsetto spirituality that strains to reach beyond the normal". As I pondered that statement, I realized that it is so true in much of what is called Christianity.

The obvious examples of this "fascination with the supernatural" are those who run from place to place seeking signs and wonders and "fresh anointing" from God. The supposed moving of God can keep arenas, and ministry accounts, full for months as people swarm to experience a touch from God to lift their lives above the ordinary sameness of their daily lives. While some would consider these events on the fringe, there are other examples that hit a bit closer to home.

Mainstream evangelicalism is concerned with showing people how to have their best life now, with programs that will enable folks to experience a life that rises above the ordinary. Church leaders are given opportunities to learn the secrets of success from The CEO: Jesus. Congregations strive to be extraordinary and have bigger and better facilities and programs. Supernatural power that gets prayers answered and our needs (wants) supplied is constantly sought.

Even those of a more conservative, fundamental bent are not immune to a hunger for the supernatural. They seek a home far away in heaven, a home where the physical no longer matters, a place to escape this broken world. Many of the rules and regulations in fundamental groups seem designed to limit contact with this physical world and its "corruption".

I'm not saying that the supernatural does not matter. I am awed when God performs genuine miracles of healing, and when he provides for his people in supernatural ways. I rejoice when prayers are answered and when godly leaders influence others to follow Jesus Christ. I too believe that this world is broken and corruption runs deep.

What I am saying, and what I think is the point of the quotation from Scandrette, is that the normal, ordinary parts of our lives matter. We are called to follow Jesus here and now, not in a future existence outside of this world. Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom was here, that the King had arrived. Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, but it does have an impact on this world. We have been given the commission and privilege to participate in the work that God is currently doing in this world.

If we look around us with eyes that can see, we can notice how God is working in the day-to-day of our lives. In fact, I think the really supernatural and miraculous thing is that the Creator of all things uses broken, ordinary people like us to do the work of restoring his creation, a work that will finally be complete when Jesus returns. The work of the Kingdom is not just those things that we see as "spiritual". It sometimes involves getting dirty and dealing with ordinary things. But, then again, Jesus used ordinary things. He used spit and dirt to heal a blind man, for goodness sake! Why do we think we have to "rise above the ordinary".

Look for God at work in the ordinary, and ask him where he wants you to fit into what he is doing. Don't run after the supernatural. Remember, many times a falsetto voice doesn't sound very good.

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